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Downtown Bristol Blog

Border Bash Celebrates 19 years in Historic Downtown Bristol

Celebrating 19 years in Historic Downtown, Border Bash—Bristol’s premier summer concert series—is back for another amazing season starting May 18, 2018! Hosted by Believe in Bristol and the Cities of Bristol, Virginia and Tennessee, Border Bash is about fun, family, great music, and creating memories to last a lifetime.

“Border Bash is a tradition that showcases everything that makes Downtown Bristol special, and that includes great live music,” said Maggie Bishop, Executive Director of Believe in Bristol.” Bristol’s downtown is definitely a hub for a wide variety of food, unique shopping, community events, and an all-around great place to come together with friends and family. This year Border Bash will introduce audiences to a whole new roster of talented, emerging acts as well as a few familiar favorites.”

The Border Bash line-up for 2018 is:

May 18 – Piedmont / State Street Intersection
7:00 pm, A Great Disaster
8:30 pm, Holy Ghost Tent Revival

June 1 – Downtown Center / 800 Block of State Street
7:00 pm, Sulpher Springs String Dippers
8:30 pm, Appalachian Trail Bluegrass

June 15 – 400 / 500 Blocks of State Street
7:00 pm, JP Parsons & The American Bandwagon
8:30 pm, Beth Snapp

July 4 (Wednesday) – Partnership with Celebrate Bristol in Cumberland Square Park
7:00 pm, Bill and the Belles
8:30 pm, Teen Spirit

July 20 – Downtown Center / 800 Block of State Street
7:00 pm, Ancient Cities
8:30 pm, Justin Fedor & Frank Bronson

August 3 – Piedmont / State Street Intersection
7:00 pm, Thrift Store Cowboys
8:30 pm, Guy Marshall

Border Bash takes place on State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol. Children’s activities and vendors begin at 6:30 PM and live music will kick off at 7:00 PM. Border Bash is hosted by Believe in Bristol and the Cities of Bristol, TN & VA. Border Bash would not be possible without our community sponsors. Our sponsors in 2018 include The Antique Automobile Club of America – Appalachian Region, Bank of America, Bank of Tennessee, Birthplace of Country Music, Blackbird Bakery, Bristol Herald Courier, Camellia Digital, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Anne & Ben Cowan, Discover Bristol, Express AV Productions, John & Brenda Fincher, Highlands Realty – Bristol Branch, Anna Morgan, Tom and Barbara Smith/ Merrill Lynch, Stateline Bar & Grille, Tri-Cities Escape Game, Tri City Tent and Event, Walling Distributing, Dr. & Mrs. Zaidiand media sponsors Bristol Herald Courier, WBCM Radio Bristol, WCYB-5, and WXBQ 96.9 FM.

Sounds of Summer Concert Series

The Sounds of Summer Concert Series, formerly the Full Moon Jam, will start June 5th and run through September 27th. Concerts will be held on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 7-9 pm from June through August. Concerts will be held on Thursdays during the month of September.

Location: Downtown Center, 810 State Street

5-Jun Duty Free
7-Jun Thomas Taylor
12-Jun Glen Harlow & Friends
14-Jun Phantom
19-Jun Honeybadgers
21-Jun From the Edge
26-Jun Cedar Valley
28-Jun Asylum Suite
3-Jul Turkey Creek
5-Jul Frontier
10-Jul Linda Lay & Springfield Exit
12-Jul Sons of Sailors-Jimmy Buffett Tribute
17-Jul Ken Morrell Family
19-Jul Billy Crawford Band
24-Jul Northfork
26-Jul Retroville
31-Jul Matt Ledbetter & Friends
2-Aug Sail On-Beach Boys Tribute
7-Aug Loose Strings
9-Aug Samantha Gray
14-Aug Appalachian Trail
16-Aug Food City Family Race Night -Borderline,Wyldeheart & Shooter
21-Aug Beaver Creek
23-Aug Shake Yo Money Maker
28-Aug ETSU Bluegrass Band
30-Aug Shades of Refinement
6-Sep Head Games- Foreigner Tribute
13-Sep My New Favorites
27-Sep James Meadows

Historic Downtown Bristol Recognized as Best of Virginia

Historic Downtown Bristol is well represented in the Best of Virginia 2018 awards byVirginia Livingmagazine, including Best Shopping District in the Southwest Region.

The Best of Virginia issue hits newsstands on, May 17 and winners throughout the state were selected after more than 40,000 ballots were cast during the Best of Virginia Readers' Survey this past January.

Many local businesses and experiences in Bristol's downtown are featured in the Southwest Virginia section of the issue, and it's another example of the amazing variety and quality of what you can expect to find when you visit Bristol. Congratulations to those who were recognized during this year's awards!

State Street Farmer’s Market opens for 2018 season

The State Street Farmer’s Market opens the first Saturday in May of each year in historic Downtown Bristol. The market is located at 810 State Street and will open at 8am and run until noon. Opening day will feature plant seedlings, greens, spring onions, and other spring vegetables, along with artisan gifts.

The market staff offers this advice for visitors:

  • Dress for the weather. Vendors will be at the market rain or shine, so be prepared for what Mother Nature will offer. A little sunscreen may be useful, especially for little shoppers in strollers.
  • Have a cooler in your vehicle or an insulated shopping bag. Vendors will provide bags for your purchases, but temperature sensitive items are best kept cool until you get home. Parking is available all around the market, so purchased items can be quickly transferred to a vehicle cooler. Insulated shopping bags are another great way to protect your purchases.
  • Bring your questions! One of the neatest parts of the farmer’s market is the opportunity to meet and develop a relationship with the actual farmers. Ask how they grow, produce, or prepare the products they have for sale. Feel free to place orders for future needs. Plan ahead to purchase seasonal fruits, vegetables, or that special artisan gift for an upcoming occasion.
  • Bring cash; small bills and coins are appreciated, and some vendors do take credit cards. Remember, SNAP is accepted by most food vendors. SNAP dollars may be doubled at the market, up to $20. Shoppers may check- in at the concession stand for more details.

Thank you for supporting the local economy. All vendors offer items that are locally produced, and they take pride in what they are offering.

For more information please contact Mike Musick, Recreation Superintendent, at 423-764-7046 or email

Downtown Bristol Events

Creative & Crafty: Foodie Canvas Class

May 9 | Bristol Public Library

To celebrate its May "Foodie Fest," BPL will offer a food-themed canvas class on Wednesday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Participants will have the opportunity to pick between one of three canvases to paint, including Bakers Gonna Bake, Calories Don't Count on the Weekend, and Like a Chef. These prints will be stenciled on your canvas, so make sure to let us know which canvas you would prefer. Or you can personalize your canvas in any way you want!

Cost is $5 per person. Participants will be provided all the materials they need, including a stenciled canvas, paint, brushes, instructions, and other supplies. Space is limited, so registration is required. To register, contact Bristol Public Library at 276-821-6147 or

Good Golly, It's Dolly! Student Art Show

May 10 | Paramount Bristol

Sullins Academy presents "Good Golly, It's Dolly!" a student art show in tribute to Dolly Parton. Admission is FREE!

Historic District Preservation Awards Ceremony

May 10 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

In recognition of National Preservation Month in May, the Historic District Preservation Award Committee in the City of Bristol, Virginia will hold its fifth annual award ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way, Bristol, Virginia.

The mission of the award program is to encourage excellence in preservation by honoring property owners and developers who engage in high-quality preservation and/or maintenance projects within our city’s five historic districts. The five historic districts are the Euclid Avenue Historic District, Solar Hill Historic District, Virginia Hill Historic District, Bristol Downtown Commercial Historic District, and Bristol Warehouse Historic District.

The public is invited to attend the award ceremony. Light refreshments will be served.

Farm & Fun Time ft. Traveller and Roy Book Binder

May 10 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Radio Bristol presents the Farm and Fun Time variety show, live from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum with Traveller and Roy Book Binder.

About Traveller
Named after Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller is an alt-country “supergroup” featuring the talents of Robert Ellis, Cory Chisel, and Jonny Fritz. Formed in 2015, the band performs a mix of songs written by the band as well as tunes released individually. The band’s debut album Western Movies was independently released last year.

About Roy Book Binder
Singer-songwriter-storytelling-bluesman Roy Book Binder has been rambling around the world for the past 45 years. He gave up his Greenwich Village “pad” in the early 1970’s and lived in his tour bus for the next 15 years criss-crossing the US and appearing at festivals throughout Canada & Europe.

Book Binder, traveled with the legendary Rev. Gary Davis in the late 60’s.“The Book”recorded his first solo acoustic Blues album in the 1970’s, which was the first to receive 5 stars in Downbeat magazine. In the late 1980’s he was part of Bonnie Raitt’s East Coast Tour, which included an appearance on The Grand Old Opry, and led to almost 30 appearances on Nashville Now’sRalph Emory Show. In the 1990’s he often appeared with Jorma Kaukonen, who recorded 2 of Roy’s songs. The Good Book, Roy’s latest release of all original songs, reached #3 on AirPlayDirect’s Americana charts.


Quarter Bounce

May 10 | Quaker Steak and Lube

About Quarter Bounce
Quarter Bounce hails from Southwest VA and Northeast TN. The band is composed of very serious and seasoned musicians who would rather perform than just about anything else. Quarter Bounce plays classic rock, a few ballads, a few country & western tunes, and blues for a great mix.

The Diamonds

May 10 | Blackbird Bakery

From East Tennessee, The Diamonds play a diverse mix of music, specializing in jazz standards. The group performs at various venues and events throughout the region, including weddings, parties, and restaurants. They have also volunteered at many nursing homes, assisted living homes, and charitable organizations in the area.

Gleam: A Jones/Serway Collaborative Exhibit

May 11 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room

Drawn to the mystique, and lore that surrounds our indigenous landscape, Brian Serway takes it one step further, embracing a monochromatic field of black and white, his artwork reveals depth, and description of scene and circumstance that is as descriptive, as it is enthralling. From a distance, nature is safe, when darkness falls, shine a light, there are many eyes that observe you.

Featured art will also reveal new pieces from Contemporary Waterscape artist Wesley Jones. Utilizing the framework of oils, canvas, and mixed media paperwork, to paint a visual document of emotion worthy of any Hemingway Novel. The depths of all tides are not only turbulent, but defining of a positive stillness captured if one just waits. Patience is virtue.

As a true collaborative effort, Serway and Jones will be unveiling a short run series that in fact defines, and embraces the true forces of nature, and all the creativity that have shaped, and inspired them along their path. Nature. It’s truly timeless.

The Roy "Futureman" Wooten and Kevin Spears Experience

May 11 | Paramount Bristol

TICKETS — What happens when two brilliant musical explorers come together on one stage? An exciting night of priceless musical moments and soul-stirring virtuosity, that’s for sure. The legendary five-time Grammy Award winner Roy “Futureman” Wooten teams up with master kalimba player and one-man music ensemble Kevin L Spears to create a world-class mix of folk, electronica, dance, rock, world and funk music that will move your feet and stir your soul.

Wooten is an inventor and virtuoso who is best known for his masterful drumming and percussion skills as a founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. At the heart of that music is a ground breaking percussion technique performed on his first invention he calls the “Drumitar,” a guitar-shaped instrument allows him to replicate sounds of an entire contemporary drum kit with just a few fingers. Hailed as one of the best players alive today, Kevin Spears’ breathtaking ability on an electric version of the traditional African instrument called kalimba, is often compared to music legends such as Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Bobby McFerrin and Les Paul.

These sonic visionaries join forces to musically transport you into a futuristic world using otherworldly instruments that will leave you spellbound and uplifted.


JB 5 & Dime

May 11 | Quaker Steak and Lube

JB 5 n Dime was established in 2012. Band members include James Brashears (vocals), Jason Shaffer (bass), Jeff Waddell (electric guitar), and Jimmy Richardson (drums). A group of friends with a love for many styles of music. Their musical background includes country, southern rock, soul, and a hint of southern gospel influence. There are a number of covers and originals performed. The covers include songs from artists such as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Garth Brooks etc. Their first demo song She Left Me for Jesus was released in 2012 by producer and engineer Troy Whitson with Sound Asylum.

A Close Encounter of Magic

May 12 | Top Hat Magic Supply

Dave Vaught, along with magician, escape artist, wise guy, and prestidigitator Siraldi, will lead you through a mind blowing experience with laughter, mystery and amazement.

TICKETS: $8 for children under 16, $12 adults. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Only 30 seats available, so reserve yours now! Call Top Hat Magic Supply at (423) 968-3200.

Bristol Ballet presents "Alice in Wonderland"

May 12 | Paramount Bristol

Bristol Ballet presents “Alice in Wonderland” on Saturday, May 12 at 5:30 pm at Paramount Bristol. Jump down the rabbit hole to take a journey through Wonderland with Bristol Ballet’s Company members and student body as they present their annual student concert.

Bristol Ballet’s “Alice in Wonderland” draws inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A polite and well-mannered child, Alice is extremely curious about the world around her. When she falls down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a fantastical but irreverent world where the rules of social etiquette don’t matter and time is irrelevant.

The performance will feature high tech digital displays along with classical ballet and traditional characters and sets. “Alice in Wonderland will be a delightful way to wrap up our 70th anniversary season,” Artistic Director, Michele Plescia. “The performance will have an exciting twist as we plan to use the Paramount’s projection equipment during the show. This use of digital effects will be a fun and challenging way to combine 21st century technology with Bristol Ballet’s 70 year tradition of classical ballet.”

Admission is $11.25 for adults, $9 for students and seniors, and $6.50 for children under 6.


PC Class: Library Resources

May 14 | Bristol Public Library

BPL will offer a special class on “Library Resources.” Participants will learn more about the computer resources available at their local library, including learning how to use Tennessee READS, Overdrive, Libby,, Find It Virginia, Transparent Languages, Tennessee Electronic Library—and much more!

Classes will be held on May 14 at Bristol Public Library at 5:30 p.m. and on May 17 at the Avoca Branch Library at 5:30 p.m. For more information on upcoming PC Classes, contact Bristol Public Library at 276-645-8780.

Artist Meet & Greet: Dale McKinney

May 15 | Blackbird Bakery

Well known local photographer Matthew Mills will introduce his latest works consisting of 41 pieces of both canvas and matted photographs. The collection will be on display from April 2-29. All art sale proceeds will be donated to Holly Help Spay-Neuter Fund to help underprivileged dogs and cats.

Independent Lens: Served Like a Girl

May 17 | Paramount Bristol

FREE ADMISSION! Presented by East Tennessee PBS. Served Like a Girl provides a candid look at a shared sisterhood to help the rising number of homeless women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffer from PTSD, sexual abuse, and other traumas. By entering into the “Ms. Veteran American” competition, these amazing ladies unexpectedly come full circle in a quest for healing and hope.

Community Notice Board

State Street Farmer's Market

May — October | Downtown Center

Join us at the State Street Farmer's Market, where local merchants, fresh food and fun times come together. Choose your favorite local produce, homemade foods and unique arts and crafts. The market is open from May through October.

May — October
Saturdays 8 am — Noon

Don't forget! The State Street Farmer's Market accepts SNAP/EBT cards. Participants can scan their card and receive wooden tokens of either $1 or $2 in value and can use those tokens with participating vendors.

Moms, Nurses & Grads Save at Tri-Cities Escape Game

During May 2018

Tri-Cities Escape Game is celebrating the month of May in a BIG WAY!

Celebrate Nurse's Week with $4 off per nurse!*
Use coupon code Nurse4off and enjoy $4 off per nurse May 4 to May 13!

50% off Graduates!*
Graduating high school or college? Use coupon code Grad50 for 50% off each graduate!

Moms play for FREE!*
Use coupon code MomFREE the weekend of May 11-May 13, 2018 and Mom plays for FREE! (A minimum of 4 people per reservation transaction for the discount to apply.)

Have additional questions, or need help with your reservation? Call 423-573-2114 or email

Make Mom's Day!

May 12th & 11th

Serendipity and Charlotte's Florals are teaming up this weekend to give moms the ultimate mothers day.

Charlotte's Florals is a vintage flower truck with a modern concept that offers custom made, handpicked, and one of a kind florals. You can pick your own stems and create your own custom bouquet.

Friday and Saturday, May 11th and 12th, Visit EITHER Serendipity location to pick up a custom pre-made bouquet for just $20. IF you spend $100 or more at Serendipity, receive a FREE bouquet, as Serendipity's way of saying thank you for shopping local.

On Friday, May 11th, from 12-4pm, at Serendipity in downtown Bristol, Charlotte’s Floral truck will be on location – stop by during that time to pick out your own stems for a custom look!

Karaoke Night

Wednesdays on the Patio | Quaker Steak and Lube

Join Quaker Steak and Lube on Wednesdays for Karaoke night!

Also Coming Up

Creative & Crafty: Foodie Canvas Class
May 9 | Bristol Public Library
Good Golly, It's Dolly! Student Art Show
May 10 | Paramount Bristol
Historic District Preservation Awards Ceremony
May 10 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Farm & Fun Time ft. Traveller and Roy Book Binder
May 10 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Quarter Bounce
May 10 | Quaker Steak and Lube
The Diamonds
May 10 | Blackbird Bakery
Gleam: A Jones/Serway Collaborative Exhibit
May 11 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
The Roy "Futureman" Wooten and Kevin Spears Experience
May 11 | Paramount Bristol
JB 5 & Dime
May 11 | Quaker Steak and Lube
A Close Encounter of Magic
May 12 | Top Hat Magic Supply
Bristol Ballet presents "Alice in Wonderland"
May 12 | Paramount Bristol
PC Class: Library Resources
May 14 | Bristol Public Library
Artist Meet & Greet: Dale McKinney
May 15 | Blackbird Bakery
Fred Sauceman: The Proffitts of Ridgewood
May 16 | Bristol Public Library
BPL Book Club: Dawn
May 17 | Bristol Public Library
Independent Lens: Served Like a Girl
May 17 | Paramount Bristol
Cold Creek Band
May 17 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Wolf Hills Jazz Quartet
May 17 | Blackbird Bakery
May 18 | Bristol Public Library
Border Bash
May 18 | Downtown Bristol
3D Printing Workshop: Make Your Own Garden & Plant Marker
May 19 | Bristol Public Library
Larry Timbs Book Signing
May 19 | Blackbird Bakery
Creative & Crafty: May Flowers
May 19 | Bristol Public Library
State Street String Band
May 21 | Blackbird Bakery
The Diamonds
May 24 | Blackbird Bakery
The Great American Novel Book Club
May 25
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (unplugged) with Special Guest Nathan Stanley — A Benefit for the Appalachian College of Pharmacy
May 25 | Paramount Bristol
Saving for Retirement Workshop
May 29 | Bristol Public Library
Meal Planning & Prep for the Beginner Workshop
May 30 | Bristol Public Library
Classic Movie Corner: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
May 31 | Bristol Public Library
Jigsaw Jane
May 31 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Gerald Sheppard
May 31 | Blackbird Bakery
Border Bash
June 1 | Downtown Bristol
David Wiseman
June 1 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Mighty Wurlitzer Day
June 2 | Paramount Bristol
Canning, Freezing, Preserving & More: Food Safety in the Kitchen Workshop
June 6 | Bristol Public Library
Appalachian Arcana LIVE w/ Mad Gasser author William B. Van Huss
June 7 | Elderbrew
Teacher In-Service Special Program
June 8 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The Kind Thieves with Collateral Jammage
June 8 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
RTE 23 Listening Room: Saw Black
June 8 | Gather
If Birds Could Fly
June 9 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Rodney Crowell with Special Guest Jedd Hughes
June 9 | Paramount Bristol
Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive
June 11 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Border Bash
June 15 | Downtown Bristol
Todd Snider
June 16 | Paramount Bristol
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
June 22 – July 1 | Paramount Bristol
Paul Thorn
June 23 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Border Bash & Celebrate Bristol
July 4 | Downtown Bristol
Border Bash
July 20 | Downtown Bristol
Dale Murphy Night
July 21 | Boyce Cox Field
Border Bash
August 3 | Downtown Bristol
Humorist Jeanne Robertson
August 4 | Paramount Bristol
Evening with John Anderson – Acoustic — special guest Elvie Shane
September 7 | Paramount Bristol
18th Annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
September 21–23 | Downtown Bristol
Chicks with Hits: Terry Clark, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss
October 4 | Paramount Bristol
The Black Jacket Symphony: AC/DC "Back in Black"
October 5 | Paramount Bristol
PUSH! Film Festival
October 12–14 | Downtown Bristol
EmiSunshine with Etta May
December 1 | Paramount Bristol

More Upcoming Events »
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